Sunday, July 31, 2011

Time ...

Time does the strangest things sometimes. One thing can feel like yesterday on one hand and a life time on another .
all round good sport

It's Brody's 11th birthday today. The little dog that could just keeps on trucking. He dances, prances, leaps and sleeps.  He snuggles, he swims (although he doesn't like swimming in Lake Ontario - he much prefers rivers) and he is my rockstar.
He holds multiple titles now and has done some very cool things and he holds a very special place in my heart.
Agility enthusiast (here at Regionals 2008)
Happy Birthday Brody. Wishing we could have 11 more years together!

nap companion

Saturday, July 30, 2011


Wilkie (my mum's jrt) has popped up on the blog here and there  in the past but never had a post all her own. Her full name is Wilkie Precious Jones which should give you some sense of her place in her family!
Mum and George decided about 12 years ago they were ready for a dog in their lives. We had a long chat about what they needed and the search began. I was working with a number of shelters and met a number of dogs. Many met the criteria they had determined (they weren't fussy: a "decent" sized dog, not a puppy) but the click just wasn't there. We looked all through the fall of 1999 into the winter. There was no rush - there was no panic but as we considered dogs more criteria became clear (a laid back dog was important, not too dak in colour, smart but not over the top smart). One night I was working at the shelter, alone, when there was a knock on the door - I opened up and was begged to take a 6 week old jrt puppy that was "too much" for the family. I explained we were full and we were closed - gave the dude some numbers for the next day and started to lock up. The guy was being a bit pushy so I asked him where the puppy was. She was in his car. Against my better judgement I asked to see her. My only defense is the guy was being quite odd ..  and I couldn't believe anybody would give up a 6 week old puppy. He pulled her out so I opened up the shelter, had him fill in the surrender form, and took her home to foster.

It took me about 2 days to even think of her for Mum, after all they didn't want a puppy, and I didn't think a jrt was the best fit for our multispecies extended family, but this little girl was the most laid back jrt I'd ever met (and in rescue land we see a fair few). Mum and George asked to meet the puppy. I warned them meeting a puppy when you were looking for a dog was a dangerous thing. They wanted to go ahead. Of course the perfect puppy sold herself in a heartbeat. The rest, as they say, is history.

Wilkie is staying with us for a couple of nights as she does on occasion. Eleven and a half years later she is still a delight. Alert, curious but responsive and cuddly. Brody and she are great friends and she tolerates the youth well too.She is fascinated by the chickens but being polite. She is a great little dog thanks to lots of hard work and love on Mum and George's part.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Oh My doG!

You knew it had to be Sally didn't you?
Picture is even more blurry than usual... as I was driving as I snapped it. Driving on a farm lane way not a public road.

Sally has invented a new job for herself. Yup, agility, rabbit watching, chicken herding, Quiz chewing, Sampson bouncing, cat cuddling, chasing sticks, swimming, holding the table down when i work other dogs, supervising meal prep,  cleaning up after parrot meals, and snuggling are not enough work for this girl. She has added trying to grab branches from trees that come near the car when we are driving into her daily job description. Someone posted this unattributed cartoon on facebook. It cracked me up and reminded me of life with Sally

It is both a little frightening and hysterically funny as she takes her new responsibility VERY seriously. What a Whole Lot of Dog she is!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

nearly wordless wednesday - what GOOFY dawgs!

Yup I've probably allowed my dogs to be wrecked for life ... this lasted about 3 minutes  max.and was the silliest, most fun thing I've ever had my lousy phone camera in my hand for. On a + note Quiz is now very happily doing tunnels. (she also hopped over a 6 inch jump following Brody - brave, nutty needs a new home puppy)      

Silly silly dogs

umm yes Sampson is BITING the tunnel- there's a habit I didn't encourage

double dog dare yah says Sally

MY TUNNEL  ... what a dog, a whole lot of dog!

Run SUCKERS run...

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Na Na Na - Na Na - Na

Nationals that is ...
Nationals loom large next weekend ... not this weekend but next

I'm looking forward to being there but I'm not sure I'm looking forward to running there

I haven't done nearly as much work as I should have to prepare - really need the equipment out of the garage 100 km away and here so I can use it ..we have done no contacts at all in July - not one .. hardly any in June ... at least pre-regionals I was doing daily aframes and occasional teeters ..

I might have chosen to do some distance work with Brody if I had thought about it ... set up the manners minder even and worked on OUT - OVER might be helpful - even a mini gamble would be useful to the 20 point boy...

That said the dogs know their jobs fairly well and we have been walking, running and playing hard even with the heat ..

I have to give Brody a hair cut and hope Sally's allergies don't flare up too badly ... but all in all considering how not ready we are I know we will have fun anyhow!

Quiz is still here - I would give a great deal for her to have a home before Nationals ...

Thursday, July 21, 2011

weave mania ...

it really is too hot to think .. so agility has been weave magic lately - that's it, that's all random times of the day (what will I do if it's this hot at Nationals?) but only for a couple of minutes ...

stole the idea from Ricky's mom who lifted it from agility adventure and am having some fun with it. Seriously wish I could find a camera so we could show you.

making adjustments for Brody's issues (he needs support and wants me onside- so we aren't realy doing it right - I do my crosses aroudn the jumps) the dogs have been doing great with it - Sally is thrilled to be working..

Quiz happily putters around on the lawn while we weave -she followed Brody through a tunnel yesterday - three times - so I guess she likes it!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

MUST find real camera

Perfect puppy in search of positive permanent home still. She is a delight. A monkey. Happy to work and play and learn. Happy to snooze under a chair or in a crate. Just a treasure. And she can't stay.

Can't find the real cameras .. driving me nuts when I actually have time to photograph things. Must say think it's pretty awesome that this can be stressful for me. :) usually I wouldn't have time to realize they were missing let alone look for them!

Brody in front of the new squash garden - which is growing just fine!

Quiz puppy asleep on my lap.

Monday, July 18, 2011

the beat goes on ...

another lovely weekend done..

lots of farm work but agility, puppy training, playing and enjoying life too

did a fun little N with Sally - weave poles and jumps and a tunnel - she was flying it  with glee

Sampson waited fairly patiently on the table for his turn .. and once it was his turn Sally was perfection herself waiting ..when it's her choice she is excellent ... open door crate? she won't leave it - closed door crate? she will bark and scratch ...

Reinforcing in lots of fun ways! I found a tiny little fleece tug that everybody but Brody thinks is awesome (pretty sure I made it for him) so it or a treat can pop out of my pocket with no notice at all.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Glengarry's Lady Kelly of Kilbarry ...

I wish I had a scanner .. she was truly a beautiful dog. An Irish Setter (whose full name may not be quite right ..but it's pretty close). We visited many breeders (that was fun!) and picked the middle of the pack in the litter. She was nearly 4 months old and for us with our first dog that was probably a good choice. Kelly is the only dog I've actually looked for.

We had a cat (Rum) who was not too impressed with a puppy in the house but they did become good friends fairly quickly. Kelly came to live with us back in the days before crate training and positive training - we signed up for a class with her which I wasn't allowed to handle her in (I was too young- 10 or so) but we wound up with a not too crazy trainer who believed in rewarding the correct behaviour at the least.

Kelly had character - her recall left something to desire especially when my Dad needed her somewhere immediately. She played us well. She ate the wall in the kitchen when we left her alone. She had allergies - oh my she had allergies! She also worked beautifully for me. I could walk her down Yonge Street (a very busy main street in the city I lived in when young) off leash in a perfect heel and she'd ignore any distraction. Her recall improved enormously and I figured out the adage "a tired dog is a good dog" all by myself. We walked miles and miles and miles, Kelly and I. In the city, on old train tracks, at farms, in the country anywhere we could.

Kelly was my compatriot and partner on many adventures (I'm an only child). We would occasionally get a little lost and I would ask her to go home - she always brought me home. We saw a  porcupine in a hole in a tree together. We watched deer together. We were running through a path one day (she was on a long line so it must have been early days before I trusted her recall) and she zoomed faster than I could run. She pulled me right over. I smashed my knee and head and still had to hobble home. She didn't leave my side for a minute of that torturous walk home. She snuggled in bed with me as I recovered from a cracked knee and concussion.

She was a great introduction to life with dogs. She was kind, and funny - her humour cracked us all up regularly. She needed and wanted work  - and she wanted to please us. Friends of the family thought she was stupid - how is it beauty and stupidity are so often equated with each other? Forgive me I digress. She wasn't stupid - we were inexperienced, she was active. I am so very glad she came into our life.
This isn't Kelly but it could be!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Oh SG!

Yup that "SG" Susan Garret, the icon of Canadian Agility ... the one I thought was married to Greg Derret until I figured out their names were not the same! They are connected though, Susan uses Greg's system and that seems to work very very well for her. I look forward to one day saying I use Such and Such System but that day ain't here yet. I use my own system ~ I should call it the SWUCADWW system (shape what you can and do what works).

Susan uses lots of acronyms. DWDH = don't want to don't have to is one example. IYC is another  - It's Your Choice ... another way of saying what I have called Doggy |Zen for many years.
Susan's disciples try to use her voice. "Weave-aahss" took me way too long to understand." READY? READY?" and  "GIRLY" are two others you hear a LOT of up here.
Susan (along with lots of other great trainers) has INCREDIBLE timing!

None of which is to in any way knock the fine lady. She is an astute business woman and a very successful dog trainer. Watching her webinars and seminars; reading her books and blog; watching her videos etc is really educational and I often find it affirming. I love her emphasis on shaping; her insistence on looking at punishment as a human failure not a dog failure; her concept of being the cookie for the dog and the fact that she trains in short often interrupted chunks (just like me!) She encourages humans to allow mistakes and work with and from them.

There is a great video out there where Susan gives credit to bad trainers who build drive. I may have shared the link before but it cracks me up every time I think about it and makes a very good point. Distraction training is big in SG World and it's important to mine. I got distracted half way through this post by the chickens yelling - went out to investigate and all seemed fine so I grabbed a minute to wok on weave entries (completely forgetting the computer was on). About 4 minutes into our session a CHICKEN came looking for me!! We had worked through a new rabbit and a guinea pig being on the lawn grazing already and Miss Herding Sally was more distracted that expected by that; so I really thought a chicken was a bit much. A loose chicken in her weave poles! She finished the poles, I praised her and put Sampson, Sally and Brody back in the house with LOADS of praise.

I live relatively close to Say Yes and could, in theory, train with SG at least sometimes. There are a few reasons I haven't (yet) and one is probably that many many people keep telling me I really MUST. Telling me I MUST anything is a great way to make me DWDH personally. I also am not convinced of the necessity of a head collar and until I can be totally cooperative with the training plan it doesn't make a lot of sense. I can see times that a head collar could be a very useful tool but I do not yet see why all puppies need it. The absolute insistence on tugging as the be all and end of all of rewards is also a tough one for me to work through. I like tugging, don't get me wrong but I don't think it's the ultimate reward for many dogs.

She was in my group at Regionals. Which was super cool. She was pleasant enough in passing but quite in her own head space.  (Which is totally fair; I was in my own head space too.) She made a comment in passing about not liking how punative many people were at Regionals on a coaching call I watched. I suspect a whole whack of people suddenly raised their bar higher because SG was watching them and therefore got more frustrated with their dogs then usual. I made a conscious effort not to change anything for the audience and as far as I know I succeeded but I could feel the temptation.

I didn't realize it at the time but I got to meet Swagger. A cute puppy sniffed me very deeply at the raffle draw and I laughed and made some comment about smelling irresistible to dogs. Eau De Rabbit is pretty sweet. The Garrett group  didn't really understand but I had fed and watered the rabbits that morning before driving up to Regionals. My guess is Swagger hadn't smelled rabbit before!

She fascinates me. She enthralls me. My personality is not given to cult like behaviour.I love Crate Games. I have an audio with her  running behind me as I type this and it's LOADED with good stuff. Her puppy peaks introductory webinars cover lots of great stuff and are worth watching.

Monday, July 11, 2011

hot diggity dog ....

I have a new laptop
I have a turbo stick

goodbye missing keys computer

goodbye dial up

can't say you'll be missed ...

the heat wave can pass any time too ...

Saturday, July 09, 2011

every dog has their day

Brody likes watching from afar

Sally loves getting up close and personal with Quiz. Sampson is much more relaxed with this puppy but still needs space sometimes!
In this lovely week of holidays we weeded, started up chickens, ate great food, entertained family, counted hay bales, did some 5 minute lawn agility and watched Quiz. Lots of fun for us all. The dogs already hope summer never ends.

Monday, July 04, 2011

Delicious ... I just wanna eat her right up

No doubt she's cute. When I caught her sound asleep under a lawn chair in frog dog position she sealed her place in my heart. I love frog dogs! That said she's still looking for her forever home.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

lovely lazy summer day

Quiz's ears spent awhile down flat - then both went prick earred - then one up; one down - today both in perfect triangle folds down - maybe she's a sheltie?

Hanging out in my Mum's garden being a good girl and finding her own toys when Sampson and Wilkie had enough of playing with her.
Bored enough to kill the Diet Coke can. Too adorable for words or pictures really - and now has a lovely default sit - an amazing little puppy! (who may not be as little as first thought - adult guesstimates range from 25-45 pounds - how do I find a home for a question mark?)